A common question I get is, Do I write meal plans? While I certainly can and it would make my job very easy, I do not.
Here’s why: Being told what to eat by someone else is very short term and can only last so long. You may say “Oh, but I like the structure and it’s so much easier to follow what foods I am supposed to eat” but the reality is, you cannot live happily and content eating the same food over and over again day in and day out. What happens when your friends or family want to go out for pizza and it’s not in your meal plan? Or you decide last minute plans to take the night out instead of what you planned on at home? This is what sets people up for failure. No one likes to be told what to eat and eventually you will “quit” when you get tired and bored of eating the same foods every day. Moreover, you will be extremely likely to binge on “forbidden” foods over the weekend, especially when you feel you’ve earned a “reward” for being so adherent to your plan all week. What happens then? You gain the weight back, or don’t lose at all, because there is a constant pull to consume foods you missed out on or haven’t eaten in a long time.
I have been guilty of following a meal plan. I loved it at first. I felt so in control of what I was eating, and because it was someone else’s work whom I wanted to look like, I figured if she ate like this then I would look like her!
It didn’t last long. I got bored eating the same foods and like many, went out for a foodie frenzy over the weekends. My taste buds went wild!
I then started learning about macros, and began swapping foods from the plan to enjoy other foods. I learned that the oatmeal for breakfast had 27 grams of carbs. I also learned that I could eat anything for the same 27 grams of carbs and still be in the caloric deficit. Whether it was fruit, vegetables, bread, rice, a burrito with my eggs, whatever have you. I did the same for lunch and dinner and became much happier. It was work to try and figure things out a bit, but over time people started to ask me what I was doing that enabled me to lose the weight. And thus, my journey with flexible dieting began.
So no, I don’t like to write meal plans for people. I teach flexible dieting, where no foods are off limits. Why go through life where you are forbidden to eat certain foods if you don’t have to? Each time you weigh and track your food it educates you on the value of what you are eating, and how your meals should look and be balanced. You learn, how much fat does an egg yolk or an ounce of cheese contain? How many carbs are in a cup of pasta, or a cup of rice? Is one better than the other when it comes to weight loss (the answer is no).
Flexible dieting is a process that will teach you that you can live a healthy lifestyle, long term. A meal plan is incapable of doing that. The most successful weight loss plan is one that you can adapt into a healthy lifestyle long term. Remember, there are no quick fixes. I wish there was, but there is not, and whomever claims to have the magic solution isn’t telling you the whole truth. Losing weight takes time, just like it took you time to put on the weight (crept on you, right?). Flexible dieting allows you to teach yourself during the process. If you can learn to enjoy the journey and not be so rigid, you will find results will come much easier when trying to lose the weight.
With that being said, I do include a list of foods in ALL of my plans. Giving my clients ideas I feel are good for them and of course I list all foods that are on the top of the list for being healthy and nutritious. I also feel that this will help people to arrange their meals, so if they want to pick a certain food from each group they are able to.
Don’t go through life being married to certain foods. You can 100% eat whatever you want and still lose weight. Of course your diet should be based around quality, wholesome, nutritious foods, but it’s important to keep in mind that it is the quantity of what you are having is what matters the most.
If you are interested in any of my nutrition plans where no foods are off limits, you can find them here.